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Powerball winners in Arizona, Missouri

It's 5-16-22-23-29, with a Powerball of 6.

 Those are the winning numbers for Powerball, which grew to a record $579.9 million, thanks to a late rush of ticket sales.

There are two winners, in Arizona and in Missouri. But it's not all bad for Florida: We have six players who had all five white balls but not the red Powerball. Two receive $2 million for also having the PowerPlay feature, and the four others get $1 million. Nationwide, 66 players had all five white balls.

The $579.9 million  jackpot is the largest ever available in Florida, and is the second-largest of all time, behind the $656 MegaMillions that three players shared in March. (MegaMillions is not offered in Florida.)

Florida Lottery officials report ticket sales were insane on Wednesday, including $8.3 million in business from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and an average of $15,500 in sales per minute from noon to 1 p.m. Nationally, tickets sold at a rate of 130,000 a minute nationwide -- about six times the volume from a week ago.

 In our home, talk centered on whether it's smarter to buy tickets now with the astronomical jackpot or during normal times, when fewer people are playing.

 My thinking: Once the jackpot is over $350 million, I'm getting fair odds. If the chances of my hitting are one in 175 million, then $2 for a 1/175 million chance gets me to the $350 million.

But others in my family point out that my odds of hitting the jackpot by myself are greatly reduced, so my expected value is well below even money. They cite the case of three MegaMillions players splitting that $656 million, and they'll be able to cite Wednesday night's split jackpot (which is $290 million, before taxes). They look in bemusement at the rush of people buying tickets now that the jackpot is high.

 What do you think?

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